The Love That Lives On

I wanted to share a very special article from my husband, Alex Lear.

Let him know what you thought and leave a comment on his page instead of mine, thanks!

You can find his article here:

The Forecaster, The Love That Lives On

Learics: Alex Lear

The Love That Lives On 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 8:00 am

“Dear Sister Helen,” my great-grandfather, Clifford Hatfield, wrote to his last surviving sibling in December 1970. “Another year has rolled by and it is Christmas time again and my thoughts go back to the old days in Arcadia when we were children, blessed by having the finest father and mother anyone was ever blessed with.

“I remember the Christmas dinners, the pictures of the trotting horses hanging on the dining-room walls, we all gathered around the table, Father at one end with the turkey and Harry Cook at the other end with the goose and Mother, God Bless her! saying ‘There is no hurry, we have plenty to eat and plenty of time to eat,’ and everybody so happy, what a pleasing memory.

“Time passes on with the changes we must expect in this life and now you and I are the only ones left of the once fine family.”

Cliff died one month later, at the age of 87. It’s remarkable to think that the times he described from Nova Scotia date back well over 100 years, to a group of people that now exist mostly in yellowed photographs and fading memories.

The people have passed, but their love lives on, in documents like that quoted above, and in their progeny.

Cliff was 45 when his fifth and final child, Kaye, was born in 1928. Like her dad, she loved her family, and she loved Christmas.

Nan was like a big kid, and she seemed as excited for Santa to swing by as her grandchildren were. Somehow the rigors of life, such as a hard-fought battle with breast cancer nearly 50 years ago, didn’t diminish her love for living. She was the heart of our family reunions, the hug you most looked forward to.

An elegant woman who graced beautifully with age, Nan made sure her house was decorated to the nines during the holiday season.

Christmas with her and my grandfather, Bump, was always a party for young and old alike. Nan loved playing the classic holiday songs on the radio, cooking the huge Christmas dinner, telling stories of Yuletides past. She remembered how, as a Depression-era kid, her family couldn’t open their presents until they had brought gifts to people in town who were in need.

It was clear that Nan carried that important lesson through life. She loved to give.

Losing Nan over four years ago to Alzheimer’s took much of the wind out of the Christmas sails; the extended family she left behind still gets together on holidays, but obviously without her it’s not quite the same.

It’s tough for my mother, Nan’s middle child, to hear “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Lines like “Faithful friends who are dear to us gather near to us once more,” and “Through the years we all will be together, if the Fates allow” must be particularly hard to take.

I’m sure we all feel this sense of loss in our individual families. The older you get, the more people who can be taken away.

Still, Nan was too much of a presence in life, like her dad, for death to have carried her far away. I set her picture on a chair beside Bump at my wedding this August, and as Lauren walked down the aisle, I felt the most beautifully haunting sensation of my life. I’m sure much of that was nervous excitement, knowing my life was about to change, with this amazing woman. But I do feel, somehow, that Nan was there. A self-proclaimed “tough old turd,” I’m sure she found a way.

When Lauren came into my life nearly three years ago, I wondered if Nan had something to do with that. In her youth, Nan had been tall and blonde, and so is Lauren. Both women are known and loved for their sweet personalities. Nan adored England, and so does Lauren. Nan’s maiden name of Hatfield is similar to Lauren’s maiden name of Sheffield; plus I’ve traced my Hatfield ancestors to one who lived in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England in the 16th century.

Anyway, it makes you wonder.

Enjoying each Christmas with Nan, while it leaves us feeling emptier without her, also makes us realize the joy that can come from the holiday season. Regardless of your religious beliefs, whether you have any or not, there’s a cementing together of people that can come this time of year, at least if Black Friday stampedes can be taken out of the equation.

It’s tough to have and then lose, but Nan made her loved ones the better for knowing her, and as I share the holidays with my new wife, and with my family and hers, I hope I can bring to those occasions the love and excitement that Nan felt with her kin around her, and Cliff with his.

The people have passed, but their love lives on.

Happy Holidays,



‘Tis the Season

The day after turkey day, we went to Hanscome’s Christmas Tree Farm in North Yarmouth to pick out and cut down any tree of our choosing.  I have always wanted to do that and was happy to find a place in our own backyard.

Upon arrival we picked up a saw and headed out into the field.  I was hoping for a tall wide one like I had last year, but it wasn’t going to work out this year.  We finally happened upon a very nice, sturdy, tall, dependable tree – just like my husband 🙂 .  After playing around a bit we committed to it by chopping it down and carrying it through the village of trees.


Whenever I’ve put up a tree in the past, I’ve always put up all the ornaments I’ve collected as a child and as I grew up.  I’ve noticed other people creating trees with a theme and I thought for our first year in the house that I would try a collected look as well.

I decided to go with something beachy, silver and blue, and snowy- kind of like a Maine winter. Here’s what I came up with:

Here are a few examples of what I used:

A clear ornament with sand from our Honeymoon…

An assortment of scented balls from a potpourri set from Michaels…

Some funky disco balls to bring out the shine…

Coastal themed potpourri sets…

A bunch of little icicles…

And, of course, some sentimental items:

An ornament given to us by Scott and Ruth of the Brewster House.  We’ve stayed there every New Year’s Eve since the night we were engaged.

The ornament my mom gave us last year in honor of our first Christmas in Maine with the Lears…

And a his and hers first Christmas ornament from my mother in law, Cissie.

I hope you all have fun decorating for the season ahead.



Lola Studios

In this post, I’d like to introduce my photo business, Lola Studios.  I’ve been fascinated with photography and theater for most of my life and that is how my studio was born.  I specialize in a highly stylized form of portraiture in which I use make up and and costumes to create a mood or theme specific to each client.  I couldn’t do it without the help of expert makeup artist, Caylee Patenaude.  She is very versatile and always up for a challenge!

Most recently, I worked with my raw food teacher, Elizabeth Fraser, of Girl Gone Raw.  I wanted to express not only her love of veggies but also the vibrance it brings to her life and the people she works with.  Elizabeth has been a huge inspiration to me and I’m so happy we had the chance to work together again.

We chose the theme of Rosie the Riveter, in this case the message was about being “Powered by Veggies”.  It was a great shoot and we were both pleased with the outcome.

Read more about her experience in her blog:

Powered by Veggies Photo Shoot with Lola Studios

by  • November 9, 2012 • community • 2 Comments

I had the best time with Lauren of Lola Studios last weekend!

I went in for a stylized Girl Gone Raw photo shoot and Lauren nailed it!  :-) Lauren had a creative vision of playing off of Rosie the Riveter and it was really fun to see her bring all of the pieces together to make it happen!

It all started with a little makeup by makeup artist Caylee Patenaude.  Caylee did a great job of keeping the makeup fun and light with an extra punch of color on the eyes.

Once the makeup was in place, we put on my bandana and then headed to the bathroom to put on the veggie tattoos from  I had never wanted a real tattoo before I saw these veggies falling down my arm.  Is there anything cuter?  I LOVE THEM!  :-)

With the veggies in place we headed back to the studio for the shoot.  Lauren made it easy, fun and natural and after a few minutes of a few different poses, we were done!

The stylized photo shoot was so much fun and I love the photo that Lauren captured.  It says everything I wanted it to about raw food & my business … fun, radiant, passionate and healthy!  I encourage anyone with their own business or a theatrical idea that they would like to bring to life to contact Lauren for a RAWsome shoot!

2 Responses to Powered by Veggies Photo Shoot with Lola Studios

  1. November 9, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Thanks for the great review, Elizabeth! You inspired me not only as my model, but also as my guide in my raw living journey. Thanks for all your help it is truly invaluable.

  2. girlgoneraw
    November 15, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    You are a RAWK STAR! :-) So happy to have met you, Lauren!


As happy homeowners, Alex and I have proudly finished three projects in and around the yard.  I’ve been itching to have a lawn to do work in, and now I’ve gone a bit crazy.  I think Alex was content with having no lawn and a guy that came to clean the stairs in the winter after each millimeter of snow fell at his old apartment.  Once the projects were done we both felt proud to have worked on something together to make our home feel more like ours.

Project # 1 Stone Walkway for Front Door

With the help of Jeremy at Swenson Granite in Westbrook, Alex and I picked out five beautiful stone pieces to layout for the walkway.  We broke them up on the driveway and laid them on the lawn to create our design.  Then we cut out the shapes of the stones and placed them in the empty spaces.  We used the excess sod to cover a large patch of dead grass on the side yard.

Project #2 Raised Beds for Spring Veggies

Alex and I received a lovely wedding present from my Dad and his girlfriend, Deborah.  They gave us three raised beds to create our first veggie garden so we can be a self sufficient home by 2013!  Just kidding.  We do want to be able to utilize our garden as much as possible, though.  I would love to get all of our salad and juicing goodies straight from the backyard.

We laid the beds out and dug up the sod and donated it to the side yard again.  We dug a bit further to dig up the soil and we will fill them in soon with new soil and possibly some compost before the winter comes.

Project # 3 Planting Bulbs

I dug up the area around our car turnaround and planted tulips and daffodils to come up in the spring.  It was a lot harder than I thought.  I found more rocks than soil under there.  I plan to lift up the sod and lay mulch to add more protection for the winter and also add a nice environment for when the flowers come up.

Alex and I also dug up the beds in the front of the house to plant the rest of the bulbs there.  In total, we planted over 80 bulbs.  I hope we get a nice turnout in the Spring.

Project # 4 Composting

My mom has had a large trashcan of compost in the backyard for at least 10 years.  I couldn’t wait to start my own.  I finally have a 3x3x3 ft one in the backyard that I add to weekly with my raw scraps,  juice pulp, etc. I started it in August and am already seeing some great decomposing going on.  It also saves on our trash service since we have to pay per bag.

Project #5 A tree! 

Alex and I received this lovely spruce from my boss, Shannon, at our housewarming party last night.  I am so excited to plant it.  It’s extra special because my parents received a spruce for their wedding and it grew to be about 10 feet wide and almost as tall at the house.  I always loved that tree.  Sadly, after the house was sold the new owners chopped it down!  This will be a lovely new addition to our home.  Thanks, Shannon!

Project #6- Firepit

We are very lucky to have a fire pit; it’s like camping.  However, I saw an interesting DIY project on Pinterest from Flikr to spice it up into a mini patio area.  It might be something to think about for next year’s to do list.

I know it’s a little late in the year for this post, especially since we’ve already seen an inch of snow here, but there’s still time for some last minute work!

Happy Gardening!


%d bloggers like this: